Guest post by Shoresh’s friend and volunteer, Michael Mikhailovsky
Rosh Hashanah marks one of the four Jewish New Years. It is the birthday of the world, a time of celebration and reflection as Jews look forward to the new year. Some Jews say that a refreshing “teshuvah” wind of repentance can blow during the month of Elul (the month before Rosh Hashanah), bringing with it this time of contemplation.
Rosh Hashanah is a day of judgement, which inspires people to do better, when crops are ripe—before the liveliness of summer fades, before life in nature fades from view and we
transition into autumn. The creation of the world is celebrated at this time. The making of a new year is compared to the making of a whole new world. It is a day for asking G-d what G-d wants from us.
Rosh Hashanah is a day for remembering the past year, and reflecting on the phases of birth, development, and decline in nature. It is a day of reflection: in what ways have we
progressed forward? In what ways have we declined? How can we help to protect and sustain our environment?
It is a day of serious reflection, and yet at the same time a day of compassion and sweetness. In northern countries, apples are ripe by Rosh Hashanah. Apple slices and challah
bread are dipped into honey with hope for a sweet year. In the distant past, the honey made for Rosh Hashanah was made out of dates. Today, Shoresh is committed to producing sustainable honey at Bela Farm, by restoring habitat for pollinators to feed and nest in. This includes growing the native flowers that need bees for pollination, and the bees depend on them for making honey.
Over the year’s we’ve observed and learned the the honey we dip our apples in is actually the nectar from last year’s sweetness and the apples are the result of last year’s pollination processes. We must remember and acknowledge the sweetness of the past year and bring some of it into the new year.
On Rosh Hashanah a ram’s horn is blown as part of the service. As we listen to the shofar, let’s reconnect ourselves to being Shomrei Adamah, environmental stewards. Rosh Hashanah can inspire environmental stewardship: caring for the environment; protecting and maintaining nature, because earth and heaven are of equal importance. We must recognize the activities that harm nature, considering what repair is needed to restore it. Rosh Hashanah celebrates the re-creation and the sustaining of the natural world.
To purchase Bela’s Bees honey, click here.